25 Oct 2019

Boris Johnson aims for December election

6:04 am on 25 October 2019

UK Prime Minister Minister Boris Johnson has said he will give MPs more time to debate a Brexit deal, but only if they agree to a 12 December general election.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street on 24 October 2019 after a Cabinet meeting.

Photo: AFP

Mr Johnson said he expected the EU to grant an extension to his 31 October deadline even though he "really" did not want one.

He urged Labour to back an election in a vote he plans to hold next week.

The EU is expected to give its verdict on delaying Brexit on Friday.

Boris Johnson "paused" his Brexit bill on Tuesday after MPs rejected his plan to get it signed off in three days.

If the Brexit date is postponed to the end of November, the prime minister will try to get his deal through Parliament again, the BBC understands. If the delay is to the end of January, Mr Johnson will hold a Commons vote next week on a 12 December election.

If Labour agrees to the election, then the government says it will try to get its deal through before Parliament is dissolved for the campaign on 6 November.

"If they (MPs) genuinely want more time to study this excellent deal, they can have it - but they have to agree to a general election on 12 December," Mr Johnson told the BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg.

Asked what he would do if Labour refused to vote for an election, he said: "We would campaign day after day for the people of this country to be released from subjection to a Parliament that has outlived its usefulness."

Under the terms of the so-called Benn Act, if the EU approves the UK's request for a three-month extension, Mr Johnson would have to accept it. He would also have to accept any alternative duration suggested by EU leaders, unless MPs decide not to agree with it within two days.